Old habits are hard to break – accountability is key to beating procrastination

Beating procrastination can be hard. We do well for a few days, but then old habits set back in, or we get frustrated with our lack of apparent progress. Nothing goes fast enough. If you face a small setback at this point, it may be enough to stop working on what you wanted to accomplish in the first place. Thankfully there’s something you can do to greatly improve your chances of success. Accountability.

Procrastinating is a habit and you can get out of it and turn yourself into the motivated and productive version of yourself you want to be. Click To Tweet

Track Your Progress 

Start by tracking what you do. You can do this via a simple habit tracker. Use a box for each day of the week and check it off or fill it in when you do the thing you told yourself you would do. Keep tracking until it becomes a habit or until the project is done.

For larger projects that you may or may not work on a daily basis, it helps to write down your goal and then break it into milestones. Record your progress and how much closer you’re inching to each of your goals.

Make Daily To-Do Lists 

Write out a list of everything you want to get done for the day. I find it helpful to do this the day before. Play around with how many items you put on that list. You don’t want it to overwhelm you, but you do want to challenge yourself to get more done. The list holds you accountable because you can see in black and white if you procrastinated or not.

a pad of paper with the title Action Plan


Tell Someone About Your Plans 

If there’s something you’ve been struggling to get done, tell someone else about your plans to finally tackle it. Call a friend, tell your spouse, or announce it on social media. Encourage the people you’re sharing with to check back with you on how you did. It may be the little extra push you need to stop procrastinating.

Find An Accountability Buddy 

Last but not least, find someone else who’s procrastinating and start holding each other accountable. This could be as simple as checking in once in the morning to declare what you each want to get done, and then again at the end of the day to see what happened. Knowing someone else is right there with you can be super motivating.

Give each of these procrastination beating strategies a try and see which ones give you the best results. Like anything else, procrastinating is a habit and you can get out of it and turn yourself into the motivated and productive version of yourself you want to be.

Need help being accountable? Set up a complimentary 30-minute virtual appointment to help you stop procrastinating 

Julie Stobbe, professional organizerJulie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, virtually. She has been working with clients since 2006 to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She uses her love of physical activity to reduce clutter in your, home, office, mind and time. Get started by downloading Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms.

Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

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  1. Seana Turner on November 8, 2020 at 4:56 pm

    If you’ve been a procrastinator for a long time, it isn’t easy to just change your ways. I think having an accountability partner is such a great idea. I started exercising with someone twice a week years ago, and it really has helped me keep up. We still do yoga two times a week, even though she moved away (we do it virtually with one another!)

  2. Diane N Quintana on November 16, 2020 at 8:43 am

    Having an accountability method – whether you tell a friend or have an accountability partner is so important. It’s hard to slack off or away from doing something when you know that you will have to say what you have done or not done.

    • Julie Stobbe on November 16, 2020 at 4:57 pm

      It is really important to talk about what you want to do. It makes it easier to work on the project so you have more information to pass on in the next conversation. That conversation can be with anyone at anytime. I agree with you the method is important.

  3. Sabrina Quairoli on November 16, 2020 at 10:46 am

    I love the idea of making a completed tasks list. It’s so important that we recognize what we did and not just want we want to do. Thanks for sharing.

    • Julie Stobbe on November 16, 2020 at 4:32 pm

      You raise a very good point making sure we know what we did and not getting it confused with what we want to do. Patting ourselves on the back for having great ideas is good to a certain point. Taking action is the most important part. Schedule it to get it done.

  4. Melissa Gratias on November 16, 2020 at 11:55 am

    Tracking my progress is SO important for me. I have an Outlook Task that pops up at the end of the month where I record, in bullet point format, what I accomplished that month for each of the goals I set this year. It is amazing how accountable that makes me feel…and proud!

    • Julie Stobbe on November 16, 2020 at 4:29 pm

      I think sometimes we don’t take enough pride in how much we accomplish. Being a successful business owner is not easy. Make sure to record all the small and large accomplishments, not just the notable ones. Thanks for the tip about using Outlook.

  5. Melanie on November 16, 2020 at 1:54 pm

    I’m motivated visually and tracking progress is fantastic way to physically see the improvement, especially if it’s slow. Having an accountability partner is another game changer. If you choose the right person, they can give you that little Jumpstart on off days. Thanks for sharing!

    • Julie Stobbe on November 16, 2020 at 4:25 pm

      I think finding an accountability partner that will be honest with you and not just a cheerleader is important.

  6. Linda Samuels on November 16, 2020 at 2:02 pm

    Accountability is kind of the magic wand of procrastination. One of the things I’ve noticed with virtual organizing is how well the accountability piece works. Because sessions are shorter and more frequent, with touchpoints between sessions, accountability plays a larger factor in the work and their progress. It’s easier to notice when changes aren’t working or habits are slipping and do a course correct. All of the procrastination strategies you shared are terrific!

    • Julie Stobbe on November 16, 2020 at 4:24 pm

      I had an accountability partner when I started my business. It really helped me to get over the fear of doing some tasks because next week I would need to explain to my partner why it wasn’t done.

  7. Julie Stobbe on November 16, 2020 at 4:34 pm

    I make a list everyday and it helps me to get things completed. However, I do have a chance to procrastinate by leaving certain things off the list. I think I need to start putting one harder to get done at the top of the list every day.

  8. Janet Barclay on June 15, 2021 at 1:12 pm

    Accountability partners are the best! I have one now I’ve been meeting with weekly since late last year. Knowing we’ll be connecting on Thursday morning has motivated me to get things finished that I would probably have put off otherwise. I highly recommend this!

  9. Julie Stobbe on June 16, 2021 at 4:11 pm

    I had an accountability partner when I started my business. It really helped me to keep moving forward and overcome the fear of doing some things. We would also go to networking meetings together so you didn’t have to enter the room alone.

  10. Jill Katz on January 21, 2024 at 4:51 pm

    I find that I am procrastinating the most when the task is ambiguous. If I write down the specific next step and/or break it down if it’s too large a task, then I am usually successful. Once in a while, I realize that I’m not motivated to get the task done and it isn’t necessary so I just take it off the list. It took me 3 years of procrastinating before that light bulb went off in my mind about making “photobooks of the year.” I didn’t want to do them anymore and it wasn’t necessary so off the list it went! I agree with everyone about accountability and I use focusmate.com to request an instant accountability partner for a 25 minute, 50 minute, or 75 minute task or set of tasks. Best invention ever!

    • Julie Stobbe on January 23, 2024 at 7:33 pm

      Thankyou for your thoughts. I will try focusmate.com Thanks for sharing about that app.

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